Being a nanny is just one of the many professions subject with a gender stereotype – conjuring up images of a fresh-faced and slightly saintly female like Mary Poppins or Maria Von Trapp, but that’s slowly beginning to change.
Kim Kardashian has revealed that she’s hired a male nanny so her sons can benefit from a male role model following her divorce from Kanye West last year, although the mother-of-four admitted she was scared to tell her ex about the decision.
The female-dominated Kardashian family structure encouraged the mother-of-four to seek male help to accompany Saint West, 7, to sports practice among other daily activities.
Male nannies are also rising in popularity in the UK with one Manny firm AtheleteMannies – a company offering sports-inspired childcare – boasting approximately 400 male nannies in around London.
In addition to handling typical nannying responsibilities including homework, dinner, and maintaining the family home, Richard Goodman co-founder of AthleteMannies, said male nannies ‘bring a fresh perspective to childcare’ by ‘fostering confidence’ and ‘inspiring children to be more active and curious’.
Kim Kardashian (pictured) has hired a male nanny to provide a positive male role model for her sons
Richard Goodman is convinced that the childcare sector can ‘significantly benefit’ from the presence of male nannies.
He told FEMAIL: ‘Many young boys lack positive male role models in their lives. By having a male nanny, it offers them a “big brother” figure who can impart valuable life skills, foster confidence, and encourage them to have fun and play after school.’
He added: ‘This creates a unique dynamic that can be highly beneficial in the child’s development.’
But Richard suspects that the real difference in male nannying lies in a newfound sense of fun.
‘Male nannies bring a fresh perspective to childcare. They often infuse a sense of fun, energy, and adventure into their approach, which can have a positive impact on children.
‘Their role as a big brother figure can create a unique bond and inspire children to be more active and curious.’
In line with Kim Kardashian, many of Richard’s clients are single mothers seeking to provide a male role model for their children. But the business has recently witnessed a boom from a new demographic – families with fathers work long hours.
‘In such cases, our male nannies offer valuable support and companionship to the children, contributing to their overall growth and development,’ Richard said.
AtheleteMannies provides a sport inspired approach to childcare (pictured above is Mannies and Nannies from the company)
A key distinction in AthleteMannies is of course the addition of physical activity – often a chore for children in the age of social media.
During Richard’s time as a manny in London, after typical duties were completed, such as homework, dinner, and maintaining the family home, he would engage children in physical activity.
Parents praised the alternative approach, and ultimately, his success in Richmond Upon Thames, catapulted him into the world of business.
In 2015 he and his partner Ben Coldray launched AthleteMannies with the aim of ‘keeping children active and engaged after school’ by promoting outdoor play and creating an active and healthier lifestyle for the children.
As avid runners competing at international level, the combination of sport and childcare seemed like a natural combination for the pair.
Richard Goodman (left) and Ben Coldrey (right) employ approximately 400 male nannies in London
‘We want to instill a passion for physical activity in children, which goes beyond organized sports and spills into their daily lives’, Richard said.
Richard and Ben have approximately 400 Mannies under their wing – with additional female nannies.
The pair has seen a ‘significant increase’ in demand for male nannies, a change Richard believes is a result of changing attitudes.
He said: ‘The stigma surrounding male nannies is gradually dissipating, and more parents are recognizing the importance of having male role models for their children.
‘This trend reflects a broader shift in parenting perspectives and the evolving landscape of childcare.’
A boom in male nannying business is evident across the UK’s capital, and James McCrossen, Founder of Manny & Me, a London-based Mannying service, has found similar results.
He said: ‘At first, business was quite slow as it was still a new concept to many but now we have 4 or 5 enquiries a week of families looking specifically for a male nanny.’
James who holds a teaching degree and most recently a Master’s in Primary Education, believes the key benefit of male nannies is changing perspectives.
‘One of the great advantages of male nannying is the effect it has on breaking down gender stereotypes that children can only be cared for by females.’
‘Men and women care for children differently as well; both have different styles of care, play and instructing.’
‘It’s great for children to grow up with the idea that it’s balanced so there isn’t too much onus on mothers for example.’